The Virginia House of Delegates adjourned sine die on Sunday, concluding an overwhelmingly successful 2019 General Assembly session. The House of Delegates passed a $1 billion tax relief package, balanced the budget without raising taxes, advanced over a dozen measures to make schools safer, passed bills to make college more affordable, and acted on a package of legislation to address the rising cost of health insurance.
“I am proud of the work and accomplishments of the 2019 General Assembly Session,” said Speaker Kirk Cox (R – Colonial Heights). “The General Assembly brought stable leadership and delivered results on the issues that matter most at a time when the Commonwealth needed it most. Four-hundred years ago, Virginia set in motion an experiment in representative democracy. I consider it a high honor to have led this institution through its 400th year and am immensely proud of the work we accomplished.”
Once again, the House of Delegates steadfastly opposed policies that are bad for business and out of the mainstream. The House of Delegates defeated legislation that would have allowed abortions for virtually any reason up until the moment of birth, more than doubled the state minimum wage, increased the cost of taking a family vacation, restricted the second amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, and provided taxpayer funded food stamps to drug felons.
“The 2019 General Assembly Session should be an eye-opener for the people for Virginia,” said Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R – Shenandoah). “The Republican-led General Assembly consistently delivered results on issues like tax relief, school safety, college affordability, and healthcare costs. That leadership stands in stark contrast to the chaos and embarrassment brought by the executive branch controversies, and the misplaced priorities of our Democratic colleagues.”
In just a few months, Virginia taxpayers will all be receiving rebate checks that are part of a $1 billion tax relief package championed by Republicans in the General Assembly. Most families will receive nearly $400 in direct tax relief over the next two years, including the $220 rebate checks later this year.
“The House of Delegates led the discussion on tax relief this year, pushing from the very beginning to return the money to taxpayers,” said Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo (R – Fairfax). “I am proud that my colleagues stood strong to prevent a tax increase and instead passed the most significant tax relief package in almost two decades.
The final budget agreement unwinds over $1 billion in spending proposed by Governor Northam, builds on our multi-year efforts to invest in a stronger economy, provides teacher pay raises, and includes $57 million to freeze tuition at colleges and universities. The budget does not include any tax increases, and deposits an additional $565.5 in the Revenue Reserve Fund bringing our total cash reserves to $1.45 billion. This reflects our prudent and responsible long-term approach Virginia takes to its finances.
“The biggest winners from this year’s budget are taxpayers,” said House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones (R – Suffolk). “We balanced the budget without raising taxes, and responsibly used the resources we have to take major steps in public education and college affordability. This budget charts the right course for Virginia’s future.”
The House of Delegates also passed a package of transformative legislation to build Virginia’s “tech talent pipeline,” centralize Virginia’s research efforts, and create a new framework for collaboration between the state, colleges, and businesses.
“The 2019 General Assembly could prove to be a major turning point for Virginia’s economic future,” said Delegate Nick Rush (R-Montgomery). “We acted decisively to secure two major economic development deals with an innovative approach that should be a model for long-term economic development. By combining targeted incentives with significant investments in higher education and a new model for collaboration with the private sector, we have, in my mind, once again made Virginia the best state in the nation for business. But more important than that, these steps will lead to good paying jobs for the people of our Commonwealth.”
The House and Senate passed a robust school safety initiative to make our students and schools safer through threat prevention, counseling realignment and increased mental health services, and increased training for school personnel and school security. The House passed nearly a dozen pieces of legislation that were direct results of the 24 priority recommendations from the House Select Committee on School Safety.
“People expect us to do all we can to ensure their children are safe while in school,” said House Education Committee Chairman Steve Landes (R – Agusta). “Virginia has always been a leader in school safety, but the work of the Select Committee and the legislation we passed this year will set the course for other states to follow. We are making our schools – and our children – safer.”